Since 1977, Charleston, South Carolina, has played host to one of the most respected and highly anticipated performing arts festivals in the world—Spoleto Festival USA. If your Outdoor Traveler vacation takes you to the charming city this spring, you can immerse yourself in 17 days of inspiring creativity and live entertainment.
Spoleto Festival USA takes place May 27-June 12, 2016. This gala of art forms showcases veteran performers as well as young dancers, singers and musicians taking the stage for the very first time. And that’s exactly what Pulitzer Prize- winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti envisioned when he created the festival. Named after the annual Festival of the Two Worlds, in Spoleto, Italy, the U.S. version combines cultures known for their artistic creativity, bridging the distance between the two locations.
The festival prides itself on presenting programs of the highest artistic caliber along with rarely performed masterpieces with contemporary innovative twists. These unique performance opportunities give established artists a renewed sense of enthusiasm, while maintaining a devoted commitment to helping the stars of young artists rise. This singular focus, along with continued support to all forms of the performing arts, has resulted in the festival’s long-running success. And made Charleston the hero city, receiving international accolades year after year.
Current Spoleto 2016 Season
This year’s festival will feature a variety of genres including opera, theater, physical theater, dance, music, Wells Fargo jazz, special events and artist talks. With a broad selection of performance times and dates available at different venues, you’re sure to find something that interests you.
Opera performances include La Double Coquette, a contemporary revision of a 1753 opera comique. Other operas include Porgy and Bess, written, set, and newly-conceived in Charleston. Porgy and Bess reveals the roots and character of the Gullah community. The Little Match Girl will be performed by an orchestra elevated on a platform and encircling the audience A contemporary German opera by Helmut Lachenmann, it explores “the little match girl’s last moments as she gazes into the dreams and memories conjured by the flames”.
Theater performances include The Importance of Being Earnest, a new production of Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece. The top-notch and always popular performers of the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston bring Ada/Ava, a manual cinema story of the fantastic and the supernatural told through live music and shadow puppetry. For a truly inspiring performance, be sure to get tickets for Every Brilliant Thing at the Wolfe Street Playhouse, a play about finding reasons to live when all hope seems lost.
Dancing has always been one of the most popular events of the festival and this year’s selection is filled with many moving selections. At the Emmett Robinson Theatre at College of Charleston, see award-winning A Gambler’s Guide to Dying. This one-man show is an intergenerational tale of what we live for and what we leave behind. If you like the unconventional, Golem at the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre follows a fantastical tale of an extraordinarily ordinary man and the creature he creates.
Check Spoleto Festival USA for complete schedule to find a few acts you might like to see. Then get away to the bustling cobblestone streets of Charleston during your Outdoor Traveler vacation. The Spoleto Festival USA is sure to brighten your smile, warm your soul and give you a brand-new appreciation for the arts.